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The Washington Post

Friday appears to be the day medical marijuana will go on sale in Maryland

12/2/17--Maryland’s medical marijuana is set to go on sale bringing relief to patients who have waited nearly five years for access to the drug — and have hundreds of dollars available to pay for it. Dispensaries were scheduled to receive the first pot shipment on Friday, and at least two out of 10 licensed stores planned to open their doors to patients later that day. They are Potomac Holistics in Rockville and Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Cumberland, near the Pennsylvania border. Read

Medical marijuana took a bite out of alcohol sales. Recreational pot could take an even bigger one.

12/1/17--Alcoholic beverage sales fell by 15 percent following the introduction of medical marijuana laws in a number of states, according to a new working paper by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University. The study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that marijuana availability can reduce alcohol consumption. Read

The truth behind the ‘first marijuana overdose death’ headlines

11/17/17--A case report about the seizure and death of an 11-month old after exposure to cannabis has prompted headlines about “the first marijuana overdose death." Co-authors Thomas Nappe and Christopher Hoyte explained that they are are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed that child. They simply observed the unusual sequence of events, documented it, and alerted the medical community that it is worth studying a possible relationship between cannabis and the child’s cause of death, myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle. Read

The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA

10/15/17--A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills. The DEA had opposed the effort for years. The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. Read

Marijuana industry looks to get more women, minorities in the pot business

9/21/17--The panel, “Minority Leaders in Cannabis,” came together through Women Grow, a national for-profit group developed founded as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry. They emphasize that entrepreneurs — particularly women and minorities — should not fear what those in the marijuana industry call “the cannabis space.” The hurdles to people of color seeking to produce and sell marijuana products are significant, those on the panel said. The war on drugs disproportionately targeted minorities, and criminal histories can complicate applications for dispensary licenses. Read

Here’s one marijuana trend you should actually be worried about

9/11/17--The latest federal survey data shows that while teen marijuana use continues to decline in the era of legal pot, adult use is rising. The percent of people over the age of 18 who smoke it in a given year has risen from 10.4 percent in 2002 to 14.1 percent in 2016. In other words, 46 million people got high last year. While public health researchers say daily marijuana use is probably inherently moderate and nothing to be concerned about, they do worry that much of it is a result of problematic use — drug dependency. Read

How legalization caused the price of marijuana to collapse

9/5/17--All the diverse effects of legalizing recreational marijuana may not be clear for a number of years, but one consequence that has become clearly evident is pot has never been so cheap. Steven Davenport of the Pardee Rand Graduate School has analyzed marijuana retail prices in Washington state since legal recreational markets opened in July 2014. Remarkably, prices have fallen every single quarter since. Read

Congress appears ready to buck Sessions on medical marijuana

8/23/17--Congress will likely renew protections next month for state medical marijuana laws, but pro-pot lawmakers and advocates are still watching nervously in case Attorney General Jeff Sessions launches a last-minute sabotage campaign. The amendment, offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), will soon expire unless Congress renews it. It appears likely lawmakers will include the language in a spending bill keeping the government open past Sept. 30, with one possible hiccup – intervention by Sessions, who’s famously known for his abhorrence to cannabis. Read

Drug production is booming in Paraguay, and so is drug violence

8/17/17--Paraguay is a global marijuana powerhouse: The small South American country produces 9 percent of the world’s supply. With thousands of square miles of farmland, Paraguay has a stable, agriculture-based economy — and the world’s fourth-largest crop of marijuana, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Even so, its porous borders and central position on the continent, among other factors, have begun to attract drug violence and increasing attention from major drug gangs. Read

Maryland is mired in a medical-marijuana morass

8/8/17--Three years after Maryland's medical marijuana program was approved, the state’s legal pot program is still earthbound. It is not only the listless pace the program is moving in but also the signs of self-dealing and shady connections that have given the project a scent of mismanagement and corruption. Read

Why Jeff Sessions is going to lose his war against cannabis

8/1/17--On at least one front, Sessions’s new war on drugs is likely to fail. In taking on cannabis — particularly the medical uses of cannabis — he is staking out a position that is at odds with powerful interests and an overwhelming majority of Americans from nearly all walks of life. This tide is too strong to swim against. Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. population lives in states that have legalized medical cannabis, and states have powerful incentives to preserve their laws. There is almost universal popular opinion in favor of the availability of medical cannabis. Read

Dallas man asked passengers to stop smoking weed on train. They viciously attacked him.

8/4/17--A 44-year-old man riding on a Dallas Area Rapid Transit train was beaten by a group of other passengers after he said he asked them to stop smoking marijuana. After the beating, Jones, whose injuries included bruised ribs, was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Police arrested Jakobi Darion Hendrix, 21, of Dallas in connection with the case, and they have identified other suspects, but no additional arrests have been made. Read

These college students lost access to legal pot — and started getting better grades

7/25/17--The most rigorous study yet of the effects of marijuana legalization has found that college students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate. The research on more than 4,000 students, published in the Review of Economic Studies, found that those who lost access to legal marijuana showed substantial improvement in their grades. Specifically, those banned from cannabis cafes had a more than 5 percent increase in their odds of passing their courses. Read

New coffee pods promise a two-way buzz: From marijuana and caffeine

7/12/17--Cannabiniers launched Brewbudz, which is “the world’s first cannabis infused coffee, tea, and cocoa pods. Brewbudz are available in different dosing strengths from 10 mg to 50 mg of THC, and according to Cannabiniers, the company’s patented extraction process “allows the consumer to benefit from the complete profile of the cannabis flower, in a healthy and discreet manner." Read

Americans don’t like the media, but they’re cool with reporters getting high

6/22/17--Drug testing is fairly common for media positions. Yet, drug tests in media strike many observers as odd, given that reporters typically don't do the things traditionally associated with workplace drug testing, like operating heavy machinery or driving buses full of schoolchildren. According to a national survey administered by SurveyUSA, half of Americans said that journalists should be able to use marijuana where it's legal to do so. Thirty-five percent, on the other hand, said newspapers should “punish” journalists who use pot. Read

America’s new tobacco crisis: The rich stopped smoking, the poor didn’t

6/13/17--The national smoking rate has fallen to historic lows, with just 15 percent of adults still smoking. Yet, the socioeconomic gap has never been bigger. Among the nation’s less-educated people — those with a high-school-equivalency diploma — the smoking rate remains more than 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By nearly every statistical measure, researchers say, America’s lower class now smokes more and dies more from cigarettes than other Americans. Read

More people are voluntarily seeking help for marijuana addiction

6/12/17--Evidence suggests that the number of people voluntarily seeking treatment for marijuana addiction is rising. The rise in voluntary admissions will likely surprise people who think marijuana is harmless and that, therefore, no one would seek treatment for it without legal pressure. But marijuana-addiction treatment will probably be more rather than less widely sought as legalization spreads. Read

Companies need workers — but people keep getting high

5/17/17--Job applicants are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, and heroin at the highest rate in 12 years, according to a new report from Quest Diagnostics. An analysis of about 10 million workplace drug screens from across the country in 2016 found positive results from urine samples increased from 4 percent in 2015 to 4.2 percent in 2016. The most significant increase was in positive tests for marijuana, which reached 2 percent last year, compared with 1.6 percent in 2012. Read

Jeff Sessions’s war on drugs has medical marijuana advocates worried

5/15/17--Advocates of medical marijuana are on edge about the long-term security of programs authorized in 29 states and the District that have broad public backing. In a “signing statement” that accompanied Trump’s signature on the bill passed this month to keep the government open, the president noted a handful of objections on legal grounds. One was to a provision that prohibits his administration from interfering with state-run medical marijuana programs. Read

Teens tend to think marijuana use is no big deal, but they’re wrong.

4/20/17--According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers are engaging in fewer risky behaviors than their Gen X parents did. However, despite this news, 60 percent of high school seniors say they think marijuana is safe, yet research suggests that marijuana use can damage the developing teen brain. Marijuana is more potent now than what people were smoking 30 years ago. Read

How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs

4/8/17--Sessions has yet to announce specific policy changes, but law enforcement officials say that Sessions and one of his top lieutenants, Steven H. Cook, are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration. Read

The DEA just gave a big boost to a cannabis-based seizure drug

4/4/17--A growing body of research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce seizures in individuals with epileptic disorders, reducing the damage caused by these diseases as well as improving quality of life. The DEA is creating a separate classification for scheduling cannabis extracts, and specifically mentioned CBD as a potential example. The resulting legal framework would seem to allow CBD-derived medications to move to a less restrictive schedule while leaving marijuana on Schedule I. Read

A pharma company just got DEA approval for synthetic marijuana

3/24/17--Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that was one of the chief financial backers of the opposition to marijuana legalization in Arizona last year, received preliminary approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration this week for Syndros, a synthetic marijuana drug, to treat nausea, vomiting, and weight loss in cancer and AIDS patients. Read

Good science on marijuana is so hard to find

3/15/17--According to a published editorial by The Washington Post contributor Robert Gebelhoff, conducting a randomized controlled trial on marijuana use is essentially impossible. Therefore, scientists must rely heavily on self-reporting from patients, making it extremely difficult to know how much, how often, or through what means subjects use marijuana — let alone what type of chemicals they’re ingesting alongside the drug. Regardless of the outcome of any marijuana study, scientists who tackle the issue do so knowing they will probably receive criticism. Read

Pot laws under scrutiny in Maryland General Assembly

3/5/17--Legalization of recreational marijuana is getting a full airing in the Maryland legislature this week. Lawmakers and advocates pushing to authorize sales of the drug for general use believe that a robust debate this year will put them in a good position for next year’s legislative session, when they are planning an all-out effort to get the Democratic-majority General Assembly to either legalize the drug or approve putting the issue to voters as a ballot question. Read

Why legal pot is suddenly in big danger

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-47-32-am11/21/16--A majority of states have legalized medical marijuana and eight (plus the District of Columbia) have legalized recreational marijuana, but the federal Controlled Substances Act still defines production and sale of marijuana as serious crimes. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is a fervent foe of marijuana legalization and said that 'we need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.' An Attorney General Sessions could immediately come down on the marijuana industry. Read

NFLPA to study marijuana as a potential pain-management tool

tmr_image-block11/9/16--In the aftermath of a new set of states legalizing marijuana use in the national elections, the NFL Players Association is forming a committee to actively study the possibility of allowing players to use marijuana as a pain-management tool. The union is forming an NFL players pain management committee that will study players’ use of marijuana as a pain-management mechanism, among other things, though the union has not yet determined if an adjustment to the sport’s ban on marijuana use is warranted. Read

The dog ate my pot brownie: Legalization fuels increase in stoned pets

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-5-11-59-am10/28/16--As more jurisdictions legalize marijuana, veterinarians across the country say they are seeing a sharp increase in cases of pets accidentally getting high. Tasty “edibles” such as muffins and cookies that people consume for a buzz are also appealing to animals, who can’t read warning labels, and, in the case of dogs, rarely stop at just one pot brownie. Read

Meet the senators and congressmen who support marijuana legalization

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-10-42-05-am9/29/16--The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) released its 2016 congressional scorecard on marijuana policy. Twenty U.S. representatives and two senators received an 'A' grade, indicating that this member has publicly declared his/her support for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults. Read